07 July 2010

Seeking & Finding the Face of the Lord

Mea culpa:  I forgot to bring my recorder to Mass with me, so no podcast of this homily.  Also, someone kidnapped my Liturgical Fan. . .no ransom note yet.

14th Week OT (W)
Fr. Philip Neri Powell, OP
Church of the Incarnation, Irving, TX

While resting up in Mississippi and filling up on good home cooking, I took time to do some reading for my dissertation. The big argument in the philosophy of religion these days is a debate about whether or not religious skepticism is justified given God's choice to maintain largely hidden from His creatures. Skeptics claim that “divine-hiddennes” is evidence that a perfectly loving God does not exist. After all, a perfectly loving God would do everything in His power to make sure that His existence was plainly evident. That this evidence is not apparent indicates that a perfectly loving God does not exist. Setting aside the many excellent retorts to the spurious assumptions of this argument, let's ask a question that should be worrying Christians all over the world: are we evidence of God's existence; that is, do we live out our Christian lives in such a way that a skeptic could point to us and say, “Well, I guess a perfectly loving God exists after all!”? If you are failing in this, listen again to the prophet Hosea, “. . .break up for yourselves a new field, for it is time to seek the Lord. . .” 

It is time to seek the Lord for the Kingdom of God is at hand; therefore, seek always the face of the Lord! And while you seek His face, show Him to all those who seek with you. Seeking God is not difficult. We are hard-wired to long after the perfect love that God is. Though we love imperfectly, loving things that are not God, that we love at all is the immediate result of God loving us first. In fact, that we are here at all, that we merely exist in the first place is His gift. So, looking for Him is something we do naturally aided by supernatural grace. The more difficult task, the seemingly impossible task is to live day to day in a way that shouts out to the world—to anyone who will see and hear—you are loved! An impossible task? No, not really. Difficult, maybe. Certainly, onerous. There's no trick to being convincing evidence of God's perfect love. But there may be a good way of doing what's difficult while you do what comes naturally.

Think of your daily spiritual work like this: showing God's perfect love to all those who seek Him IS the way I myself seek after the face of the Lord. In other words, the best way for you to find God is to help others find Him. Do you tend to think that you must first find God in order to show Him to others? How can I show others what I myself have not yet found? Are you waiting to “get it right,” waiting to become holy before you love others as God loves you? If you answered yes, then please remember: any act of genuine love, anything you do or say that reflects mercy, compassion, forgiveness; every sign you give that you are grateful for your own redemption through Christ Jesus, all of these are done and said only in virtue of the fact that God loved you first. Therefore, any evidence you present can be convincing testimony to those hunger to see the face of the Lord. 

The Kingdom of God is at hand. Break up for yourselves a new field, for it is time to seek the Lord. It is time to seek Him by bringing out of hiding the love He has always shown you. By your every word, every deed, every thought give evidence to His people “till he comes and rains down justice upon you.”

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